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November 7, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Andrew Feldman

Andrew Feldman
  (4:00 PM)

Hey everyone. It was a great start to the final table yesterday and I can't wait for tomorrow night. Send in your questions now, we'll get started in a few.

Noel Puno (Great Falls Virginia)

Do you think Lamb can overcome Heinz and that monster chip stack?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:06 PM)

Absolutely. The dynamic among the three tomorrow night is going to be very interesting, but Lamb can definitely make the comeback. The key will be whether or not he can accurately time his aggression against Pius. In my opinion, Pius and Ben are going to get into a big hand early and with both of them playing super-aggressive, the chips will go in preflop with one of them holding rags versus the other's goods. It's the way they both play and it really seems inevitable.

Aaron (Texas)

When will the 2012 WSOP schedule get released?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:06 PM)

Usually around January.

Bill Merriott (Kansas City Missouri)

How long did they actually play to get down to three? I went to bed and watched the rest of it this morning.

Andrew Feldman
  (4:07 PM)

About 10 hours.

Eric (LA)

Did Anton forget to show up? Why would you not wear the lucky jacket?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:07 PM)

He said that he didn't want to be superstitious and wear the jacket. Go figure...

Matt R (NJ)

Over/Under: 2.5 hours to crown a Main Event Winner?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:08 PM)

Staszko is involved, I'm taking the over. He's not going to get it in light.

Caleb (Richmond, VA)

Yesterday's coverage was just great for poker enthusiasts like me. A big thank you to that. What was the deal with the "color commentary" by Antonio and Phil? They seemed to give hand ranges to players that were very ABC. I don't understand how on one hand ESPN opted to show all the final table hands, which allows the viewer to understand that there is more to the game than what's normally showed on an edited broadcast, yet then "dumbs things down" in what appeared to be an attempt to appease the more casual viewer.

Andrew Feldman
  (4:10 PM)

I think giving basic hand ranges was important. I mean, these guys are putting their reads out there on every single hand and imo, I think they did a pretty good job on that. They couldn't see the cards, so all they had was their instincts as a player...

Chris K (North Carolina)

Do you believe that Martin Staszko will be capable of hanging with Lamb and Heinz's aggression?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:11 PM)

It really depends on what Staszko shows up. That said, if you look at his online stats, when he makes the top 3 in tournaments, he wins something like 50 percent of the time...so yeah, I think he can cut it.

Gary (Detroit)

What was the buzz around town about FTP, what with the fairly recent seemingly positive (at least in terms of people possibly getting paid) news that has come out?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:11 PM)

Basically no talk about FTP. The focus was on the final table and that was about it. The way it should be imo

Ryan P (Milwaukee, WI)

Gianetti by far played the best IMO. I would have liked to see him and Lamb play heads up. Who do you think will win Tuesday? My pick is Lamb he is just on fire.

Andrew Feldman
  (4:12 PM)

Agreed. He did play very well the entire final table. In my column coming out later I'm going to argue that Lamb is going to win, but as I mentioned at the start, it's going to come down to one hand between him and Pius.

Bill Merriott (Kansas City Missouri)

Why on the broadcast did the gallery appear to be in black and white? It was very strange.

Andrew Feldman
  (4:13 PM)

There are no lights in the audience...definitely wished there was more though as the crowds were great.

Shea (Texas)

Was it a standard move for Lamb to ship with the Ah 7h, considering he knew from the broadcast that Giannetti wasn't opening light?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:14 PM)

I thought it was a misstep for sure. That said, Ben opened light all day and maybe this one time he'd show Matt he had it...When you're four-handed with 20 big blinds, he doesn't have that many options...especially when you see a suited ace against a tighter player who could potentially fold.

Ryan P (Milwaukee, WI)

What did Allen Bari do to get kicked out?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:15 PM)

Wasn't saying very nice things to the tournament director.

Ralphy (Cleveland)

Was it just me, or did anyone else pick up on Phil making a few not to subtle digs at online players in general, plus his comment about Cada, which basically made him out to be a luckbox.

Andrew Feldman
  (4:15 PM)

Imagine if we watched every one of Cada's hands form that year like we saw this final table...I wonder what everyone would think then... I think that was Hellmuth being Hellmuth.

Ronnie (South Dakota)

I understand all the Giannetti played really well talk but how about we credit Heinz for constantly applying pressure and becoming THE force when the FT got down to 5, making gutsy and timely bluffs and not losing his mind when Staszko out flopped him.

Andrew Feldman
  (4:16 PM)

If Pius loses that race to Anton, it's a different ballgame. Binking the two-outer on the turn gave him the chips to bully, exactly what he loves to do. He did play extremely well during the late stages, being completely aggressive and forcing the others to play for their stacks if they were going to get involved.

Todd (Atlanta)

Better for poker - Lamb winning, thus lending credence to the poker is not luck factor in favor of legislation, or one of the other guys taking it down, leading to even more of an influx of foreign players?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:19 PM)

In #goodforthegame terms, in the US, obviously a Lamb victory would be huge. It tells a real story about the skill factor...As far as the game in general, Pius winning is best. It will keep the European market growing and offer up a bigger boom in Germany than the one that is already going on. Same could be said for Martin if he won, but his appeal is really only in his country. Pius has the ability to transcend since he speaks English fluently.

Bill Merriott (Kansas City Missouri)

I've heard that sometimes players can take up to 10 minutes to make a decision but at the final table no one took clode to that long as I remember. Do they feel pressured by the circumstances to act faster?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:21 PM)

The O'Dea/Pius hand with A-Q versus Q-Q was about 14 minutes I believe. Not pressured to act faster, but a couple of these guys don't hollywood. Pius takes the most time out of these three thinking of his correct play by far.

Nate (Houston)

Was there ever any consideration at ESPN to not have the FT coverage on a Sunday smack dab in the middle of football coverage? After all, if it was on a weekday then pretty much all that would be competing is hockey.

Andrew Feldman
  (4:22 PM)

Maybe next year we'll adjust it, but I think everyone at ESPN understood what it would be up against.

Herman Cain (Godfathers)

Was Staszko's frustration before the dinner break about being run over as evident at the table as it was on the broadcast?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:23 PM)

His head was down a lot. Always looking at the chip counts...he knew what position he was in at all times and yes, I think that it was visible that he was frustrated.

Taemin (New York)

If Ben Lamb wins, where does his year rank among the all time years?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:25 PM)

What an incredible WSOP, but as far as a year, he hasn't done much else on the tournament felt. That said, he plays a ton of cash and does extremely well at that too.

Hank (South Carolina)

Can you briefly describe what the players were doing to learn details from the broadcast? Would they talk to their sources in the crowd only during breaks, or were they sometimes checking between hands? I was trying to look for this, but it seemed like people were staying in their seats for the most part, which suggests that most of them were catching up over breaks.

Andrew Feldman
  (4:26 PM)

The players would get up after they folded their hand and walk over to their rail. Almost every player had friends with iPads, computers, whatever, that had the broadcast up and notes were being taken. I think I'm going to have David Williams/Sam Stein on a future podcast and discussed what he was doing with Giannetti/Lamb.

Eric (LA)

Surprised Collins kept limping in after it became clear that style wasn't going to work at the table, his performance seemed to be a letdown. Really thought he'd make it heads up. He and Lamb both seemed off their usual A game.

Andrew Feldman
  (4:27 PM)

We spoke about this at length...nobody knew what to do with his limps. It was probably the one tactic that nobody expected. I'm assuming he was hoping to limp-trap, but he never had the opportunity. When he tried it with A-Q, Pius had QQ. Not much he can do about that.

Andrew Feldman
  (4:27 PM)

We spoke about this at length...nobody knew what to do with his limps. It was probably the one tactic that nobody expected. I'm assuming he was hoping to limp-trap, but he never had the opportunity. When he tried it with A-Q, Pius had QQ. Not much he can do about that.

Aaron (Texas)

How do you see ESPN coverage changing next year? In five years?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:27 PM)

Who knows. WSOP coverage is always an ongoing discussion where we think about what is best for the fans.

Chris (Phoenix)

Why wasn't there a WSOP fantasy game on ESPN.com this year as in years past? Did the sports book betting have something to do with this?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:28 PM)

Poker Pick 'Em was a casualty of Black Friday.

Eric (LA)

Even though he was ahead, what was the reactions to O'Dea's call with the A-9 against Lamb? Sick read that went unrewarded

Andrew Feldman
  (4:30 PM)

As I was typing in the cover it live, we had just seen a hand where Lamb 3-bet light against Collins. If O'Dea had that information I'm not sure, but it was really a great call and it's always terrible when you make the right decision and get punished for it. That said, it was still a spot for most of Eoghan's chips in a 60:40. Great read regardless.

Geoff (Albany, NY)

Now that you've seen the FT go from 9 to 3, which near miss player (i.e., one that finished in the top 27) do you think would've been the most positive addition either in terms of overall play or viewer enjoyment?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:31 PM)

Lindgren, Devonshire, Hewitt are three off the top of my head. All of them would've added their own element to the competition.

Vinny (The Shore)

Will the final three play out in their entirety on ESPN regardless of time or is there a back up plan in place if it runs long?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:31 PM)

On ESPN, starting at 9 p.m. ET

checkout (memphis)

great job Andrew and ESPN as a whole. Do you ever see a time where other tourneys (perhaps the $50K Players or the $25K HU) get live coverage such as what we saw with the ME?. Again great JOB

Andrew Feldman
  (4:32 PM)

Thanks for the good words. IMO, I think the way poker on TV should progress is in this sort of arena. Big-time tournaments, televised in this fashion. Let the WSOP play out, but the 50K, 25K, whatever, should be broadcast on TV in this fashion. The fans need to be engaged and people at home should want to come out and get the experience of being at the final table.

Felix (Phoenix)

Do you think that a lot of the early big blind walks were a result of the guys on the button not wanting to have their hands revealed via the 15 minute delay?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:32 PM)

Not at all. I think it was just a matter of getting the feel for the table.

John Clarke (UK)

Hi, great job on the coverage in general. However, what was the reasoning behind not bringing Olivier Busquet back for the FT coverage? He was superb in the previous coverage.

Andrew Feldman
  (4:33 PM)

Agree that Olivier does an amazing job. I can't address why he wasn't brought back though, not something I'm involved in...

Eric (LA)

Who surprised you the most with their good play and who with their bad play?

Andrew Feldman
  (4:34 PM)

I really thought Anton would've put up a better fight. I don't think there were many mistakes made by any players yesterday, but I was really impressed by Matt and Pius.

Alex (Miami)

Which past champ do you think would've been more likely to have been most negatively affected by the ability of the players to learn the hole cards 15 minutes later? I think you have to say Yang, as it might've opened people's eyes to his game more quickly, thus preventing him from amassing all his chips, after which he was close to unstoppable.

Andrew Feldman
  (4:34 PM)

While Yang is a good answer, I think it's Gold. If people saw Jamie talking every time he had the nuts from the start, he would've been toast.

Ryan P (Milwaukee, WI)

It didn't look like to me that Pius was looking at any of his opponents to get a read like the others were. Did it seem like he was playing his stack more than the player? Almost like he was playing an online sit n go.

Andrew Feldman
  (4:35 PM)

He told me this was just another tournament. His play is very math/aggression based and chip stacks mattered more to him than his opponent's demeanor.

Andrew Feldman
  (4:36 PM)

Thanks for all the questions today guys. Press conference time! I'll be back to preview the final table tomorrow at 4 p.m. ET.